ELYRIA – Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academies has been purchased by an Avon-based company that intends to turn it into a training facility that will teach far more than soccer.
Chris Haas, president of All Pro Freight, said his company, Haas Holdings Inc., reached an agreement Friday to purchase the property for $2.4 million. Although the deal for the 30-acre property still needs to be formally approved by a county judge, Haas said he expects that to take place in the near future.
The academy, which is now being run as a community sports facility by Rival Sports, will once again begin offering instruction in sports, but will go far beyond soccer to include baseball, football and basketball, Haas said.
“We are going to reinvigorate the athletic facility right out of the gate,” Haas said.
He said he wants the facility to go even beyond teaching athletic skills to preparing young athletes to be good people through life coaching as well as teaching entrepreneurial skills.
“It’s all my ideas, but I think it’s an untapped market,” Haas said.
Friedel, a former BayHigh School soccer standout now playing professionally in the United Kingdom, launched the academy as an exclusive soccer school in 2007. But the economic downturn in 2008 hit the academy, which was largely funded through corporate sponsorships, hard and it ultimately closed, leaving massive debt in its wake.
Although Friedel talked often about reopening the academy, built at a cost of $10 million, his plans never came to fruition and the building and grounds were foreclosed on in 2011 and put up for sheriff’s sale.
At the time, the property was appraised at approximately $7.2 million, but it failed to get even the minimum bid of $4.8 million and has been in receivership ever since.
Haas said his purchase of the academy could see him relocate companies using his existing sports facility in Avon, All Sports, to Lorain, although that will be done on an individual basis with tenants based on their needs and desires. He said All Pro Freight could make use of the space now used by All Sports.
According to court documents filed in the case, Rival Sports’ lease would transfer from the receiver to Haas, but Haas said he has not yet had any detailed discussions about Rival’s future at the facility. He said he avoided those discussions until the deal was on more solid legal footing.
“We have no plans of not working with them,” he said. “We’re not going to close the door to any opportunity.”
The details of the how the academy’s creditors, who court records show are owned roughly $9.5 million, have not yet been approved by the court and weren’t available Friday.
Haas said he has high hopes for what he can do in Lorain.
“We definitely want to maintain what it is and build it up in a big way,” he said.